Next Generation Sequencing: Underlying Technology and Applications to Cancer

March 8, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm America/Toronto Timezone
Broad Institute Auditorium
415 Main St
Cambridge, MA 02142

Computer Society and GBC/ACM and cosponsoring Young Professionals

John Methot – Director of Health Informatics Architecture at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The development of DNA sequencing technology was spurred by the Human Genome Project in the 1990s resulting in massively parallel techniques that are referred to as Next Generation Sequencing. Introduced in 2006, these and subsequent technologies have revolutionized biology. Hundreds of organisms have complete reference genomes. Hundreds of thousands of humans have been sequenced. Myriad creative adaptations of sequencing have been and continue to be devised. Sequencing is now a routine technique that is at the core of biological research in academia, industry and medicine and increasingly in medical care itself.

Precision Medicine is the concept that differences in disease risk, prognosis, and response to treatment can be elucidated at the molecular level, often using nucleic acid sequencing. While it is expected to impact many diseases precision medicine has had its earliest applications and successes in cancer. The identification of specific DNA alterations that segment what were previously considered similar tumors has lead to the development of alteration-specific drugs called targeted therapies.

This presentation will include a brief history of sequencing technology and a description of how sequencing is performed, how the large volume of resulting data is analyzed, and a brief survey of the ever-growing collection of applications. Then we’ll focus on the main application in cancer, somatic variant identification, and its use in clinical care.

John Methot is a software and systems architect with more than 30 years’ experience developing applications in scientific and technical domains. Since 2006 his work has focused on genomics in the life sciences in pharmaceutical and biotech research and most recently in clinical cancer research. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Washington and a Masters in Bioinformatics from the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is currently the Director of Health Informatics Architecture at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and is also a co-organizer of the Boston Computational Biology and Bioinformatics group with over 1300 members.

This joint meeting of the Boston Chapter of the IEEE Computer Society and GBC/ACM will be held in the Broad Institute Auditorium (MIT building NE-30). The Broad Institute is at 415 Main St between Vassar and Ames streets. You can see it on a map at this location. The auditorium is on the ground floor near the entrance.

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